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With the Cheetah on its way to “the vault,” I found Case’s announcement of the Tony Bose-designed Swing Guard lock blade knife to be welcome news.  This limited-production blade looks a lot like the Cheetah, but adds a classic “swell center” (read: the pointy bits in the middle). 

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Case recently announced their new vault program, an announcement that took me by surprise to say the least.  It appears to be true, though.  Here’s a portion of the press release that confirms it:

Coins, jewelry, stock certificates and your Case knife collection — all of these are items to be stored away for safekeeping. There are many valuable items at Case, but the most prized would be the knives we make. Or more accurately, the knife patterns we make — like the Case Trapper, Case Peanut or Case Seahorse Whittler. The Case patterns, and there are more than 140, are treasures not only for the factory, but they are prized by our collectors. That’s why the time is right for Case to build a vault — the Case XX Vault — where knife tooling will be stored for safekeeping.

That’s right, starting Jan 1, 2008 Case will toss the Doctor, Lockback, Tuxedo and Cheetah (my personal favorite) into “the vault.”  Sounds like a good thing, right?  Think again.  For those who don’t know what “vaulting” entails or how it’ll work, think Disney — as in “buy one for your kid now ’cause we’re not going to let you buy one for a few years.”

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Remember that guy whose tools you left out in the rain when you were five?  Yep, that’s Dad, and his special day is coming up quickly.  And just like last year, we’d like to recommend a good quality pocket knife as a perfect Father’s Day gift.  We’ve posted about a few already, but here’s another you might consider: the Case Small Congress Mammoth Ivory.  It’s unusual enough that he wouldn’t likely spring for one himself, yet it’s still a strong, usable knife.

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Our friends over at Case dropped us a line today to tells us that their damascus-bladed SlimLock picked up a Popular Mechanics “Editor’s Choice” award at this year’s National Hardware Show.  We’re not surprised: when we spent some quality time with their bone damascus Peanut earlier this year, we were impressed.  The Damascus is not only beautiful, it’s also excellent steel, holding an edge longer than you’d imagine.

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Have you ever wanted to feel like the Toolmonger version of James Bond, pulling out the perfect tool for the job — the job of cutting a lime at a cocktail party or opening the mail at the office?  If so, we’ve found the knife for you: Case’s bone damascus peanut.  It’s beautiful, it’s functional, it’s even a bit rare, and best of all: it’s affordable.

Read on past the jump for our hands-on experiences carrying the damascus peanut for a few weeks.

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Sean and I carry pocket knives every day.  Well, every day we’re not going to the airport, in which case we ship one in our checked luggage so we can have it on the other end.  Think of them as the ultimate man’s security blanket.  There’s just something comforting about having your good ‘ole pocket knife with you.  We use ’em, too.   From slicing open the mail to cutting wire and digging stuff out of the shop vacuum filter, we use ’em hard. 

So when Case suggested that we put aside our beloved daily-carrys and try out some of their new stock for a few weeks, we jumped at the chance.  Then it sank in.  Remember when Charlie Brown hid Linus’ blanket?  Yeah, that’s us.

Then the package arrived, and we opened it up to find two shiny-new W.R. Case Red CVs.  How do you get the attention of a couple of tool writers?  Send ’em two knives with chrome vanadium blades and red bone covers.  Half our shop is red and/or CV.  Nice.  Instantly it was out with the old and in with the new.

Now after two weeks of daily use and abuse, we’ve got lots to say.  Read on to see how they fared.

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We’re sorry we didn’t get this info out to you earlier — for some reason it slipped by below our radar.  For years Case offered a number of their pocket folders with real India “Stag” bone handles.  Then, in 2000, the government of India placed an embargo on all Stag shipments — effectively ending mass production of India “Stag” knives.

Case says that when India briefly lifted the embargo to release “pre-ban” Stag stockpiles, they managed to secure enough Stag to “allow for continuous production of Stag handled pocketknives for some time.”

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post-buck.jpgThis idea is so obvious that you may not have thought of it.  

The thing to keep in mind is that picking out a pocket knife for Dad is sort of like picking out a wedding ring for your spouse-to-be.  Don’t just go grab anything off the shelf.  There was a special moment of bonding when your father gave you your first knife, and now you’ll re-share that moment with him through your gift.  If you put some thought (and your heart) into it and pick out a knife that fits his needs, interests, and personality, it’ll be a gift he’ll remember, and likely carry in his pocket for decades to come.  If you just buy him whatever you find at the mall, you might as well buy him a tie.

If you don’t already know what kind of knife your father carries, now’s a good time to find out.  Fathers stick to the same pocket knife brand the way truck owners stick to Chevy, Ford, or Dodge.  He’s likely carrying the same brand his father carried, and you’ll want to get him his favorite.  To carry on the tradition while adding your own personal flair to the gift, consider picking out a version of the knife he carries in a different finish.

Our fathers happen to carry knives from Buck, Case, and Schrade.  (Not surprisingly, we do the same.  It’s learned behavior.)  In our pockets today are the Buck model #307 “Wrangler,” a largish three-blade knife of good utility that was recently discontinued, and the model #425 “Minibuck,” a much smaller single-blade that’s a lot easier to explain to the gate security at concerts and sporting events.  Among our fathers’ favorites are Case’s #035 medium “Stockman” in bone, and Schrade’s #340T “Old Timer U.S.A.” in classic brown.

To add a special touch to the gift on the ‘day itself, ask him to show you how to sharpen it — good memories, indeed.

Case Knives [W.R. Case Co.]
Buck Knives [Buck]
Schrade Catalog [Taylor Brands, LLC]